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GARDEN GROVE : Group to Investigate Street Light Billing

A city-sanctioned committee will investigate whether Southern California Edison Co. has billed the city twice for some street lights and charged for street lights in neighboring cities.

The City Council Tuesday appointed former Councilman Ray Littrell, Jack Schild and Tom Petrosineto the committee, which will include representatives from Edison and the city as non-voting members.

Council members directed the committee to submit its first report in six months, but no deadline has been set to complete its work.

City officials last week suggested formation of the committee during a public forum in which street lighting was discussed.

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Littrell, 59, who has spent the past six months studying the street light problem, said in the meeting that taxpayers might be duplicating payments for some lights--at a flat rate and a metered rate.

In addition, he said that the city might be paying for street lights in Stanton and at border areas with Anaheim, Westminster and Cypress.

Brad Martin, Edison Co.'s area manager, acknowledged that the city might have been double-billed for some street lights, particularly in a parking lot near Main Street.

But he said that only nine street lights might be involved, not the hundreds that Littrell and Schild have reported. The city has about 7,800 street lights, Martin said.

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The committee is to determine exactly how many street lights might have been double-billed and how the money would be recovered, Littrell said.

“We’ll be out in the streets checking what’s actually out there,” he said.

Littrell said the committee soon will develop a game plan that includes determining how much the city is being billed for street lights and how many street lights are owned by the city or by Edison.

The city pays a lower monthly rate for city-owned street lights. Littrell’s committee will determine whether this is better for the city.

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The committee also will look at current street-lighting fees to determine fairness to property owners, Littrell said. A portion of the fees are used by the city for park maintenance.

Homeowners with street lights have complained that they pay more for park maintenance than those with no street lights, although everyone uses the parks, and some homeowners contend that they are subsidizing park maintenance for everybody in the city.

The committee will find ways to make it more equitable for everybody, Littrell said.


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